Friday, September 29, 2006

Interbike 2006 or Why I'm too old for red-eyes...

Just back in from Vegas this morning. Oof. While I didn't leave a lot of cash or brain cells in Vegas, I managed to leave my cell phone in a cab on the way to Lotus of Siam last night, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I got in on Sunday night and rolled out early the next morning for DirtDemo. I was planning on walking to the back of the Sands Convention Center but I saw two guys with shaved legs getting into a rental car. I talked my way into the back seat and the crazy Italians drove me out into the desert for a day of fun. These guys were great. There is only one way to drive in the US if you are Italian and that is braks-gas-brakes-gas etc. Great fun. Trying drinking coffee going from 80mph to 40mph repeatedly. I managed to not burn myself. The crazy Italians were great fun and truly good sports about my barging in on their rental car. It was a lot nicer than taking the bus and it was fun to listen to them argue when we had to get off the freeway due to an accident.

I hiked up the hill, past Tim at Masi (new 'cross bike!) and did a quick lap around the vendor booths. I ran into a bunch of old friends and ended up at Cane Creek with Paul and Malcolm. We've been working with Malcolm at Cane Creek for a few years now and they have been great to us in terms of support and product. I've always wanted to check out their double-barrel shock and this seemed to be the perfect time! They had a few Enduros and Demo 8s set up with the shocks. I've spent a good amount of time on both of those bikes so I thought that I MIGHT be able to tell a difference. Whoa. I know a few pros who have these shocks and swear by 'em but I was still surprised that I felt a difference. A BIG difference. I pride myself on being able to ride almost anything and have a good time so you might say that my expectations are low. You might also say that I don't notice if something is a little bit nicer than what I'm used to. I noticed this shock right away. It's a HUGE difference from the Fox rear shox that I have been riding for the past 6 years or so. Forget PUSH. Forget everything. These things are rad. And pricey.

That's Aden, scratching her brain. Ouch. It hurt me just watching it.

I rode the Demo 8 on the DH course and the Enduro on the long xc loop and was impressed. I also managed to ride all of the mtn bikes from Jamis. They have a few new platforms this year (and a new mtn bike product manager) so I got to spend some time on them. I wasn't a big fan of the XLT platform but this new XAM is really nice. I also liked the XCR. And the Exile 29'er. Now I managed to ride the Moots 29'er YBB and the Jamis 29'er and I'm not sold. They are fun, sure, but I still don't get it. Oh well. Let's move on.

I rode the 15" and 17" Diablo and LOVED it. The bike rides really well and pedals really well also. The bottom bracket is really low for a 7" bike (12.6") but I was into it. I'm a freak for riding Speedplays on DH bikes but I managed to pass a few guys on the way down the mtn. Without pads. Or full-facer. Heh. Me likey that bikey. I also rode the Haro 6" bike. I thought the headtube angle was a solid degree too steep and a 32mm stanchion fork with a qr on that bike is a mistake. That's just me. The rear on that thing was solid but could have been more responsive.

Monday was all fun for me as it was just social and riding. I hooked up with Lars and the boys at Trail Head Cyclery for a few runs during the day. I hit the last bus back to the hotel, had dinner and crashed out. Tuesday, I was back at it again after breakfast with Martin. More riding all day, dinner with Sheba, Martin and Darren, bad pirate show then sleepytime.

Wednesday was the beginning of inside time. I scheduled meetings all day for our core staff at Interbike. We also had some seminars to hit up and we split up when necessary. We got to look at all of the new product coming down the pipe. Here's some favorites... the Moots Snoots, built for Mike Curiak, is set up to store white gas in the fork legs and downtube. Check out the custom racks and just beautiful workmanship. And how about that 4 inch wide tire from Surly! Oh, Mike races for days on end at events like Iditabike in Alaska. Oof. Really cool bike, eh?

People asked me what impressed me about the show. What did I see that I was excited about. I have to tell you, Jon and Moots did it for me this year. Imagine the attention to detail that it takes to custom fabricate a bike that doubles as a gas tank. Think about the non-standard stuff that you would have to do for someone. Think about how expensive that would be to pull off. The boys at Moots didn't look at this as a burden, they were excited to pull it off. Think about it. You are trying to grow a business and sell lots of product so that you can feed your family. At the trade show, you SHOWCASE a bike that you will NEVER sell again. A bike that required so much one-off, custom work that there's no way that they made any money on it. The pride and joy of Moots is the fact that they CAN do this type of work. Just amazing. This is the type of philosophy that endeared me to the bike industry in the first place. Moots is keeping the dream alive. Thanks again Jon. Here's Mr. C at the demo day. I think this was the only time he managed to sit down that day.

Also new is a fit setup from Speedplay. They are putting together a little kit that has stuff to fix leg length discrep, long femur, etc plus 5 pairs of custom spindle length pedals to adjust Q factors. It will be pretty useful and we'll see it soon. They also have a new 'Easy Entry' model with a softer spring based on the Zero platform. This will be a cool pedal as they will be offering it in a few colors. Pink, red, blue, black, yellow (I think). Here's a shot of the pedal fit set up. Spare screws, LeMond wedges, extra baseplates and custom green pedal bodies. Not bad. Also shipping this week from Speedplay are the pink Zero pedals (Maglia Rosa) that were supposed to be the Basso model but we won't talk about that. I was hoping to have the Tyler model AND the Basso pedals to trade for some smack. Poor guys.

I test rode the new pedals and got a pint glass from Speedplay. I like pint glasses. Susan will be happy about that.

I hooked up with Sjoquist briefly but managed to shoot a picture of him at the Bikes Belong booth. So here's a picture of the man himself with a picture of himself with Cong. Oberstar. Also here's Martin at the DirtDemo, refueling after standing around all pasty-like in the desert. Here's the boys waiting for me at breakfast and finally the long-lost Demo 7 tattoo frame. About three minutes before I took this picture, a dude fell over right in front of me, out cold. I roused him quickly and he said that he needed the Starburst in his backpack. A buddy of mine is diabetic so I knew what was going on right away. I popped a couple of those suckers out of the pack, unwrapped 'em and handed 'em over. After he ate three or four of 'em, he looked me straight in the eye and asked,' How long was I out?' He thanked me, I hung out with him for a few minutes more and asked that he do the same for me if I ever fell over in front of him. He laughed and I went to drink beer at the Cane Creek booth.

I have more pics and a few more stories but I'm tired and I have a lot of catching up to do. Next trip is looking like a SRAM-sponsored flight out to Trail Head for some tech stuff. News on that later. Enjoy!

How could I ever forget the new stuff from Surly. Martin couldn't stay away from 'em and I knew that if he wasn't around, I could always find him there. That boy likes him some Surly.

This year brings a new frame with integrated hippy sled. Think long bike with super carrying capacity. There's no way this thing costs less than $100 to ship so don't expect it to end up near normal Surly prices. Surly + Extracycle = fun. Also, they are bringing shifting to fixed gears. Sure you have to stop, pull out a wrench, move the chain over, retension and go, but that's easier than it was before. Two cogs in one. Talk about smart. It's the best thing since toilet water. We'll be stocking these suckers fo sho.

Malcolm at Cane Creek also did a small run of custom rim colors for their Volos LE (I just made the name up) that will retail for around $750. There are only about 100 of these wheelsets made, including the supercool copper etched logo and band around the hub. And check out that rim color. It changes, man, it changes! Sapim xray spokes, I believe. Here's Malcolm showing off the new beauties.


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Arleigh Jenkins said...

volos se ;)


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